Apr 30, 2012 3:30 PM by David Sherman (email@example.com)
Jessa Rae Growing-Thunder from Poplar, Montana, was crowned the new "Miss Indian World" on Saturday night at the 29th Annual Gathering of Nations in New Mexico.
Growing-Thunder is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes.
She competed against 28 other Native American women to earn the title.
The concept for Miss Indian World originated in 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Indigenous young women from all over North America compete for the crown.
Miss Indian World is selected by acquiring points in a variety of categories and must be knowledgeable about the tribe(s) and traditions she will be representing. In addition, contestants earn points through a public speaking event, interviews with judges, a talent presentation, and a dance competition featuring PowWow music.
At the end of the five day competition, Growing-Thunder was crowned after earning the most points.
Derek Mathews, founder of the Gathering of Nations, said, "The Miss Indian World title is one of the most prestigious honors among Native American and indigenous people. The winner provides a cultural link between tribes and helps bring together native and indigenous people throughout the world."
Growing Thunder, 22, will travel to native and indigenous communities around the world on behalf of the powwow.
She is currently attending college at Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.